Experienced Attorney Represents Suspects Facing Charges of Elder Abuse and Neglect
San Antonio, TX criminal defense attorney counsels accused clients throughout the area
Sentences can be enhanced in Texas when the victim of criminal misconduct is 65 years of age or older. This makes sense given that elderly people are often vulnerable to various types of mistreatment, but the emotional nature of these charges can work unfairly against defendants. If you’re accused of elder abuse or neglect, you could lose your reputation and suffer severe punishment. Kevin L. Collins, P.C. in San Antonio provides capable defense representation for accused healthcare workers, caregivers, relatives and others. Kevin L. Collins understands the realities of a situation are rarely as cut and dried as prosecutors present them. He investigates the circumstances of the complaint to uncover facts that can lead to a successful resolution of your case.
Types of alleged elder abuse that can lead to prosecution in Texas
Elder abuse cases fall into one or more of these categories:
- Physical abuse — Crimes of violence against elderly people include assault, battery, and sexual assault might not be immediately reported depending on the victim’s condition. Symptoms of abuse include bruises and broken bones, as well as mood changes, anxiety and depression. However, there are often reasonable explanations for injuries to older individuals. Falls are a natural consequence of the decline of age, and even gentle handling of elders can produce bruising. Seniors suffering dementia sometimes imagine hostility and physically resist caregivers trying to help them.
- Neglect — Older people who receive substandard care or are neglected completely could suffer from malnutrition, dehydration and infections. Victims might develop painful bedsores. Yet, some seniors who receive optimal care fail to thrive, simply because of age.
- Emotional abuse — Threats and mockery are never acceptable. People of advanced years should especially be treated with respect, patience and kindness. But again, elderly individuals who develop dementia can perceive abuse even from the most solicitous caregivers.
- Financial abuse — Taking advantage of a senior to enrich oneself is a serious crime. This occurs when trusted relatives embezzle funds and misappropriate property, or when strangers deliberately target the elderly through phone scams and other fraud schemes. Yet, a close examination of the facts often reveals that the alleged thief had no intention of stealing and was acting in good faith.
Accusations of elder abuse and neglect can ruin your reputation and expose you to civil and criminal liability. Hiring an attorney who can handle these complex issues is essential.
Penalties for elder abuse in Texas
The Texas Penal Code provides enhancements for certain crimes when the victim is aged 65 or older. For example, a simple assault is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500. However, when the victim is elderly, the charge is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by one year in county jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
Sexual assault is normally a second-degree felony, punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. But, committed against an elder, the charge is increased to aggravated sexual assault, a first-degree felony, punishable by five to 99 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
It is also a crime to fail to report elder abuse. Any person who has cause to believe that an elderly person has been abused, neglected or exploited and knowingly fails to report the incident to the appropriate authorities commits a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in county jail and a maximum $4,000 fine.
Contact a certified criminal defense lawyer for charges of elder abuse in San Antonio
Kevin L. Collins, P.C. defends clients accused of elder abuse throughout the San Antonio area. Call 210-598-8629 or contact the office online. The office is located in downtown San Antonio.